The Attack on the Madhahib and the forbidding of Taqlid (blind following) of today – Shaykh al-Fawzan

Scholar: ´Allâmah Sâlih bin Fawzân al-Fawzân
Source: sahab.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=136887
Reference: Darulhadith.com
Translation & video: aFatwa.com

Question:

People who subscribe to knowledge and especially young students look down upon Fiqh-matters and especially the books of the Madhâhib. Their argument is that they do not consist of evidence. They even look down upon the Ijtihâd of the Imams in this matter. What do you advise in terms of this and the respect for the Imams of the Madhâhib and the importance of the Madhâhib. There are people today who look down upon them, criticize them and say that they are freed from the Madhâhib and that they take directly from the Qur’ân and Sunnah.

Shaykh al-Fawzân:

It is a deviation. We have said that and clarified it. We said that the one who fulfils the conditions of Ijtihâd does Ijtihâd. He is not allowed to follow blindly. THESE ARE HOWEVER FEW TODAY, IF THEY EVEN EXIST. The more time passes, the more the knowledge disappears. The prophet (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“Allâh does not seize this knowledge by pulling it out from the chests of men. It is seized by the death of the scholars. When there then are no scholar left, the people take the ignorant as leaders who in turn will answer without knowledge and go astray and lead others astray.”

The more time passes, the more the knowledge disappears. It has also been reported that by the end of time, few scholars will exist and many readers [will exist]. Many readers who lack understanding will exist.

It is wrong to ignore the Fiqh-books. Fiqh is the richness of this Ummah. It is a great richness. However, that does not mean that we take everything that is in them to heart. We filter (I.e. right from mistakes). The one who has the capacity filters. He takes that which is strongest according to the evidence. We said that there are four types of people; an absolute Mujtahid, a Mujtahid within his Madhhab who considers what opinion is the correct one, one who follows blindly and a layman. This fiqh is, as said, a great richness in the hands of the scholars. They study it and take help from it in order to understand the Qur’ân and Sunnah. They take its verdicts and the statements of the Imams that agree with the evidence and leave that which contradicts the evidence.

As for the one who ignores it and says that they shall do a new Ijtihâd… Who is the one who is to make a new Ijtihâd? There is none! It is a deviation. Are you who say that you shall make a new Ijtihâd as the four Imams? Such as Imâm Ahmad and Imâm Mâlik? What does this mean? I wish that they existed. But you don’t have more than the smallest who follows blindly. You have nothing to come with. Don’t destroy yourself. Don’t destroy others. Fear Allâh! It is allowed to blindly follow in necessity. Allâh (ta’âlâ) said:

فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

“So ask the people of the message if you do not know.” (16:43)

This is a blind following in necessity. It is OBLIGATORY to blindly follow in necessity. It is prohibited to blindly follow in the case of capability. It is forbidden for the one who is able to make Ijtihâd to blindly follow. In necessity, it is obligatory to blindly follow. It is not fully prohibited to blindly follow and neither is it fully allowed to blindly follow. The matter is thusly detailed. We do not say that you should take to heart everything that exists in Fiqh. We say that you should filter and follow that which is based on evidence. They are after all more knowledgeable than you about proving and the extraction of rulings. You have nothing to come with. You should rely on them and the words of the Fuqahâ’ and look to their evidence. If you are able to consider, do so. If you are not able to, you follow that which is (written) there even if you do not know of the evidence. For this is a necessity. This has to be understood. There are people who fight the Madhâhib today. Where should the people go? Should they deviate? There is one who has authored a book by the name “Islâm without Madhâhib”. What without Madhâhib? Where should the people go then? Should they go to the ignoramuses? This is a great problem.